Bangladesh can better control hypertension for less than $10 per patient a year: study

Life-saving care for hypertensive patients can be expanded nationwide for about $10 per patient annually, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal

Published : 27 July 2022, 07:02 PM
Updated : 27 July 2022, 07:02 PM

Expansion of the Bangladesh Hypertension Control Initiative could save many lives, and at less than $10 per patient in a year, a cost the country can afford, according to local and international experts.

Speaking at an event in Dhaka on Wednesday, they also warned that the burden of hypertension in the country is expected to grow in the coming years due to an ageing population, rapid urbanisation, increases in sedentary lifestyle, processed food consumption, and other socioeconomic and lifestyle factors.

The Directorate General of Health Services and the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh can expand their life-saving care for high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, nationally for about US$9 per patient per year, according to a Bloomberg Philanthropies-funded new study published in the British Medical Journal.

The study findings were shared during the event titled "Bangladesh Hypertension Control Initiatives", jointly organised by the NCDC Program of the DGHS, PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), the National Heart Foundation, Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), and Resolve to Save Lives.

Expansion of the project for hypertension control would save lives in Bangladesh by preventing heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and expensive hospitalisations for these conditions, and at an affordable cost, said a statement from the organisers of the event.

“In Bangladesh, one out of every five adults has hypertension,” it quoted Dr Tom Frieden, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives and former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as saying.

“Many lives can be saved—and heart attacks and strokes prevented—by investing in strengthening primary care services to provide blood pressure treatment to Bangladeshi adults,” Tom added.

Although most people’s high blood pressure can be controlled with a simple medication regimen, of the estimated 22 million people with high blood pressure in Bangladesh, it is estimated that only 49 percent have been diagnosed, 35 percent are receiving treatment, and 14 percent have their blood pressure under control.

The hypertension control programme from NCDC at DGHS and NHFB has been implemented in 51 Upazila health complexes, which offer hypertension care that aligns with the World Health Organization’s HEARTS technical package.

The programme has so far registered 100,000 patients for treatment and has controlled blood pressure in 58 percent of patients in treatment, according to the statement.

The hypertension control programme is “succeeding by incorporating the principles of task-sharing and team-based care,” said Professor Md Robed Amin, Line Director at the Department of Non-communicable Disease Control Programme, DGHS.

Since 2018, the Non-Communicable Disease Control Programme and the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh have collaborated with Resolve to Save Lives, a global health non-profit organisation, to implement the programme strengthening the detection, treatment and follow-up of high blood pressure in primary care.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher